BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Charlotte Bennett made her first TV appearance Thursday evening, on the CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell. The former aide is accusing Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Bennett said Cuomo propositioned her for sex.
“I thought he’s trying to sleep with me, the governor’s trying to sleep with me, and I’m deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,” Bennett said in the interview.
She said the governor told her he was lonely, looking for a girlfriend, and asked Bennett if she has ever been with an older man. She said Cuomo told her he's okay being with anyone over the age of 22, Bennett is 25.
"Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely,” Bennett told O'Donnell when asked what made it clear that Cuomo wanted to sleep with her.
Bennett is one of the three women to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
The governor's office points to his Wednesday apology.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable," Cuomo said. "It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it.”
Bennett said she did hear the governor's remarks.
"It's not an issue of my feelings, it's an issue of his actions," Bennett said in the interview. "The fact is that he was sexually harassing me, and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me."
Bennett's lawyer said the behavior was immediately reported, and is confident that the governor was made aware of this. Below is the attorney's full statement following Wednesday's press conference.
“The Governor’s press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better. The Governor repeatedly said he never touched anyone inappropriately. Ms. Ruch’s story makes clear that’s not accurate. The Governor repeatedly said he had no idea he made anyone uncomfortable. My client, Charlotte Bennett, reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel. We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint and we fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Ms. Bennett’s serious allegations or to ensure that corrective measures were taken, in violation of their legal requirements.
“Further, as reports are emerging of other staff resigning from the Governor’s office in the wake of his scandals, the people charged with helping him execute the duties of his office are once again bearing the consequences of his actions. If they know anything or have experienced this themselves, we call on them to come forward and report this misconduct.”
On Saturday, Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to the governor Beth Garvey said Bennett's concerns were treated according to law and policy. Below is the full statement.
"Ms. Bennett's concerns were treated with sensitivity and respect and in accordance with applicable law and policy.
"The matter was promptly escalated to special counsel. Ms. Bennett received the transfer she requested to a position in which she had expressed a long-standing interest, and was thoroughly debriefed on the facts which did not include a claim of physical contact or inappropriate sexual conduct. She was consulted regarding the resolution, and expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the way in which it was handled.
"The determination reached based on the information Ms Bennett provided was that no further action was required which was consistent with Ms Bennett's wishes.
"Although in no way required by law, the Governor has requested an independent review and all staff will cooperate in that endeavor.
Cuomo said his actions may have been misinterpreted.
“I understood him loud and clear, it just didn’t go the way he planned,” Bennett told O'Donnell.
The state AG's office is investigating the sexual harassment claims.